I find it slightly unbelievable and irritating that we are in the 21st century and I am writing a blog on diversity in the workplace and in particular, equality for women in the tech workplace today. Being a woman myself and working with the tech sector, I take this discussion very personally and get angry that the talents of women are not being 100% used in the workplace. Women are not asking for special treatment or special recognition, just to be treated as an equal based on their merits.
The American association of women states that the number of women in computing has fallen to just 26% and according to Harvard Business Review, 41% of women working in tech eventually end up leaving the field compared to just 17% of men! These stats shocked me and should shock everyone in the tech sector! I knew the number was of course lower than men but had no idea just how much lower.
With our flagship Apps World event round the corner and in London, we have placed emphasis this year on the Women in Tech angle and wanted to bring it to the forefront of discussions at our event and one of key features, something that as a team we are extremely proud of, but this is just a drop in the ocean for the change that needs to happen.
I recently watched an interview with Mary Lou Jepsen (Director of Engineering at Facebook) on her experiences as a Women in tech and the challenges and prejudices she has come up against at some of the biggest tech companies in the world. One of our comments really hit home for me, that the impossible is always possible! How true she is!
For me, as much as these archaic views of women need to be tackled in the work place, there is certain amount of education that needs to start at a young age to tackle these old fashioned views on what each gender or ethnic minority has to offer. I don’t believe that it’s so much around the fact that women are not interested in tech or becoming coders, or even that they hate maths, I believe it’s more around the fact that they don’t want to always be having to prove themselves just because they are woman or look different! Tech organisations have a responsibility to diversity, whether it be women in senior roles or a focus on ethnic minorities, surely the benefits of having a diverse team, with different points of views and backgrounds, help an organisation to progress and be different?
As a sector that boasts about being at the forefront of innovation, opinions of women especially seem to be the complete opposite. I truly believe that true innovation comes with and from diversity in the workplace and team.
My final comment again comes from Mary Lou Jepsen when she stated that “by excluding women, you only give half the population the control over social change”. Food for thought?
This article was written by Katie Bilton, Senior Producer at Apps World
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